In this edition of Home Stories, Ashley Feraude finds himself enjoying a surprise wine tasting…
I don’t think any business name aligns with its founder as well as Mick Spencer’s highly successful sports clothing empire—On The Go.
Mick’s mind races forward in conversations, he partakes in marathon races and he’s constantly zipping around Australia and the world.
From the day I was introduced to Mick over a beer at The Duxton a few years back, I’ve been watching his business and personal life move in leaps and bounds—so much so that it makes mine seem like it’s moving in slow motion.
Naturally, I was eager to find out what the home of someone which this pace of living looked like. I quietly hoped everything would be red, that there would be a shower unit that dries you while you slam down a coffee, and the stairs would be replaced by fireman poles.
But instead of being greeted by an all-red interior, Cass and I arrived at Mick’s Turner apartment on a chilly Sunday morning to be greeted instead by Alfie, an overwhelmingly cute and timid cavoodle puppy.
Unfortunately, Mick’s wife Alicia was not present—but perhaps that was a good thing as keeping conversation with two people while paying so much attention to Alfie may have proven impossible. I administered a million pats.
Mick and Alicia’s apartment is compact, full of character, filled with natural light and deliciously warm.
We spent a large part of the conversation comfortably perched in the kitchen while we caught up on, however, I had to cut Mick off once he rolled past the 20th point about his business projects and recent book, as all I had to come back with was how I recently stained my desk.
I avoided that by asking Mick about his love of Canberra. After all, this is a man who could live anywhere that his global business is based. As he explains, it all comes down to provenance.
“I was born and raised here, my parents live close by, my brother is close by, I started my business here and it’s a city for a good, easy life,” says Mick, who agreed with me that when you live a life at his pace, there is no need to add to the stress of it through a bigger city.
“I also love the evolution of the capital and how its changing to include cosmopolitan features without losing the chilled lifestyle vibe.”
That being said, Mick did leave Canberra temporarily in his early 20s. He didn’t finish school and instead flew to Hawaii to teach at a retreat.
He admitted that it was less about teaching and more about partying, but the location must have had an impact on him considering all the Hawaii references throughout the apartment.
He returned to Canberra few years later to undertake study at the University of Canberra in business and sport before setting up On The Go from his parent’s garage in his mid 20s. Mick actually just turned 30, so that gives you an idea of how quickly he moves.
It takes me longer to decide on which ice cream flavour to go with at Gelato Messina than it does for Mick to develop a business. While I eat pistachio on my couch next year, I’ll be watching Mick’s logo on Australian athlete’s clothing at the Tokyo Olympics.
As we started to walk around the apartment and move through Mick’s home office and bedroom, it hit me how humble Mick’s and Alicia’s home is. Simplicity, function and comfort make up this cosy abode, rather than the red walls, shower machine and fireman pole combo I was hoping for.
Somewhere between the cooking books, VR headset, drink cart and piles of cosy blankets lie the moments for Mick’s racing mind to take a step back, for Alicia to unwind and for Alfie to curl up into a sleeping ball.
Despite Mick being on the go all the time, you never get a sense he is rushed in any way. It seems that his home—and in fact Canberra as a whole—keep him grounded. For now, anyway.
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Read all of Ashley’s Home Stories series here.
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Photography: Cass Atkinson